Danis Tanovic directs ‘The Postcard Killings,’ a psychological thriller that was based on the novel of the same name by author James Patterson and Liza Marklund. There are some minor spoilers, but I avoid any big ones.
NYPD detective Jacob (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and his ex-wife Valerie Kanon (Famke Janssen) loses their daughter and son-in-law to a pair of serial killers (Naomi Battrick and Ruairi O’Connor) who traveling Europe and staging crime scenes to look like famous pieces of artwork after sending postcards to local journalists. Every country Jacob travels to, he meets a brick wall in both clues and law enforcement cooperation, many seeing him as a grieving American trying to bully his way into the investigation. American journalist Dessie Lombard (Cush Jumbo) agrees to help him, feeling sensing a kindred spirit in him. This prompts Interpol agent and Inspector Klau Bublitz (Joachim Król) to also partner with Jacob in the search for his daughter’s killers.
This thriller moves along at a steady pace for the first two acts of the plot and keeps in engaged. It highlights a few things about our culture, Europeans’ mistrust of Americans, dealing with red-tape for an international manhunt, and the need for law enforcement to stay objective even when of their own is a victim of a heinous crime. I thought all of this was a good fit for the film, which avoids becoming a bloated mess.
The problems start to unfold in the third act where they try to insert so many twists, the twists themselves become predictable. Now, I have not read the novel it is based on, but if things were inspired by the book, it should have been trimmed down a bit for movie form. There was this subplot where Janssen’s character is searching for an American connection to the two characters. Honestly, this made the film a bit bloated and could have been resolved with a few lines of dialogue. Also, they did not do a good job of connecting you to the victims. You do not even know what they look until you are close to the climax (another cost for the twist). It made the severity of the crime feel less impactful.
That in no way undercuts the acting. Janssen, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, and Cush Jumbo all do very well in their parts. I felt that Morgan does a good job of being an aggrieved father, but avoids some of the darker impulses that we have seen in some of these “American in Europe” thrillers. While he does make depends, Morgan does not suddenly become a super spy who can dodge bullets. He is just a man relying on the skills he has a detective. That itself was refreshing.
Bottom line, while The Postcard Killers provides all of the thrills and dynamite performances, it gets in its own way towards the climax, making even its twists seem predictable. However, it still has it is intriguing enough to keep you glued.
Check out the trailer below:
What do you think? Let me know in the comments below. Tell me if there is a comic book, movie, or novel you would like me to review. While you are at it, check out my movie reviews of Rebecca and The Frozen Ground. Don’t forget to like, share, and subscribe for more posts like this one.